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5 Best Ways To Redeem the Southwest Companion Pass With Rapid Rewards Points for Max Value

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Spencer Howard
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Spencer Howard

Former Content Contributor

51 Published Articles

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Always a fan of flying, Spencer wanted to find ways to upgrade his travel experience. Over the years, Spencer has been a guest speaker on multiple YouTube shows as well as podcasts on maximizing point...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3213 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program offers some outstanding redemptions for travel around the U.S. and international locations.

While these redemptions are a good value on their own, you get the greatest value when redeemed with the Southwest Companion Pass. If you haven’t heard of the Companion Pass, you’re in for a surprise!

In addition to the low number of reward points needed to book Southwest flights in general, Southwest gives you an extra free ticket for no extra points when you have a Companion Pass!

Southwest Rapid Rewards Points Basics

Southwest Rapid Rewards points can be earned by signing up for the Southwest credit cards. You earn points toward the Companion Pass with every purchase made with a Southwest card so make sure you’re ready to put a lot of spending on your card!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.

This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 50,000 points.
$650
$149
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal Southwest card offering from Chase. When you peel back the curtain, it is easy to see why.

Not only does the card offer multiple bonus categories to help you earn more Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but it is also loaded with benefits that are sure to offer quite a bit of value to Southwest flyers.

Here is a full overview of the card to help you decide if it is a good fit for your wallet.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshare purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases
Cons
  • $149 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!

Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 50,000 points
$650
$99
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Another week, another flight. Flying weekly can get tiring, but you know that every flight gets you closer to taking some great vacations with your significant other or your favorite travel buddy.

To save money on the flights, you like to use Southwest Airlines.

So why not get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to help you earn extra Rapid Rewards points?

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
Cons
  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 6,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 50,000 points
$650
$69
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you spend a lot of time in the air, it’s important to get a great deal on your plane tickets.

Southwest Airlines can help you get those deals.

One way to save is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. This card helps you earn points for all your spending, and earning more reward points is always a good thing for a busy traveler!

Pros
  • 2x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points per $1 on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
Cons
  • $69 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Each of these cards has an annual fee and typically come with a sign-up bonus, so check out their reviews for the current offers.

You can also transfer Chase points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account at a 1:1 rate.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth over $900 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
75,000 points
$1,500
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros
  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $900 when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase TravelSM, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase TravelSM. For example, 75,000 points are worth $937.50 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth $1,125 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
75,000 points
$1,500
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros
  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase TravelSM. For example, 75,000 points are worth $1125 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Business owner? See our list of the best Chase business credit cards.

The travel rewards cards have an annual fee, but the cash-back cards (which can convert into Chase reward program points) do not. All cards typically have a good sign-up bonus.

Search on Southwest.com for the lowest fares using their designated lowest fares search engine. Select the option to show the price in “points” when you search for availability.

The number of Rapid Rewards points needed for a ticket on Southwest Airlines is based on the “destination, time, travel date, demand, fare class, and other factors.”

Typically, you get:

  • Business Select fare: ~78 points/$1
  • Anytime fare: ~78 points/$1
  • Wanna Get Away plus fare: ~76-78 points/$1
  • Wanna Get Away fare: ~76-78 points/$1

There’s an estimated fares destination map located here to see specific rates, but fares are still subject to change depending on the parameters mentioned above.

How the Southwest Companion Pass Works

southwest companion pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is the ultimate travel perk for you and a loved one. Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock

Southwest may not be the largest carrier, but it is probably the most popular carrier due to its commitment to customer service and status as a great low-cost carrier.

By far the best way to redeem points is to have and use the Southwest Companion Pass. You’ll get 2 tickets for the price of 1, regardless of whether you pay for the flight or use Rapid Rewards points!

How To Earn the Companion Pass

You must earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards points in a single calendar year to receive the Companion Pass.

These must be eligible points, such as points earned from flying (100 one-way flights in a year), Rapid Rewards credit cards (including sign-up bonuses), the Southwest Dining Program, shopping portal, or partners.

Note that points transferred from other programs or accounts (e.g., Chase Ultimate Rewards) will not count toward earning a Companion Pass.

Purchased points, flight bonus points, tier bonus points, points earned from surveys, and partner bonus points will not count toward the Companion Pass.

Once you have earned the Companion Pass, it will be valid until December 31 of the year after the year in which you earn it. So, you’ll get the most use out of the Companion Pass when you earn it in January because you can fly with it for nearly 2 years after that (e.g., January 2023 through December 2024).

The Companion Pass can be used every time you fly Southwest.

How To Check Your Companion Pass Progress

Checking your progress towards the Companion Pass is easy and can be done right on the Southwest Airlines website.

After logging on to your Southwest.com account, click on My Account in the upper right hand corner. Then you will see a progress chart in the My Rapid Rewards section in the middle of the page.

Your progress will be tracked in points and in number of flights. But you only need to achieve one of these requirements, not both, to earn the Companion Pass!

How To Check Southwest Companion Pass Progress
Image Credit: Southwest

 

Hot Tip: Curious what the best credit card is? Check out this list of the best credit cards for Southwest Airlines flyers.

How To Maximize the Companion Pass

The companion pass is eligible for use with paid and award travel on both domestic and international Southwest Airlines itineraries. Before you can bring a friend or loved one, you must designate them as your companion.

Your companion can travel with you for only part of your itinerary if they choose, but they cannot travel without you on the Companion Pass. Additionally, you can change your designated companion up to 3 times per year.

If you lose the physical pass Southwest sends you by mail, don’t worry; you don’t actually need it to book a flight.

Following the above strategies, you can feel confident that you have maximized the value of your Southwest Companion Pass. Now, all you have to do is look for great deals on domestic and international flights to take with a friend, relative, or partner!

Before you know it, you’ll be getting tons of value out of your Companion Pass and Rapid Rewards points.

Hot Tip: For more information check out our ultimate guide to the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

Best Ways To Use the Southwest Companion Pass for Vacations

Using points and miles is where the fun really begins! After all your hard work earning them, it’s nice to get some ideas about where to go so you can start anticipating those trips!

how to use southwest points
Wondering how to use Southwest points that you earned? Travel to Oregon and enjoy the beautiful scenery and hikes around Mt. Hood near Portland. Image Credit: tusharkoley via Shutterstock

1. Fly Dallas to Portland Round-trip

With the Companion Pass, you can fly yourself and a travel companion on a round-trip ticket from Dallas to Portland in economy class for 15,330 Rapid Rewards points.

Those reward points cover the cost of your ticket, and your travel companion flies for nothing extra except the occasional airport taxes and fees.

Full price without the Companion Pass, this same flight for 2 people would cost about $548 total. That’s a value of 3.6 cents per point, which is an excellent redemption!

2. Fly Baltimore to the Bahamas Round-trip

redeem southwest points
Take the quick trip down to Nassau in the Bahamas to enjoy beautiful blue beaches and all-inclusive resorts! Image Credit: Ruth Peterkin via Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a great international vacation, check out the “Wanna Get Away” fares from Baltimore to Nassau, Bahamas. You can book a round-trip ticket in economy class for 10,080 Rapid Rewards points.

Fees tend to be a bit higher on international flights, whereas they are quite low for domestic flights. But the redemption value is still good: this flight for 2 would give you a value of about 2 cents per point.

Hot Tip: If you time your spending right, you could earn the sign-up bonus points for 2 of Chase’s Southwest credit cards early in the calendar year. Then you’ll only have to earn the difference before the Companion Pass is yours!

3. Fly Denver to Los Cabos Round-trip

redeem southwest points Los Cabos
Fly to the tropical paradise of Los Cabos, Mexico with your Rapid Rewards points! Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao via Shutterstock

Southwest has been expanding its international footprint, and that’s good news for Companion Pass holders.

You can fly from Denver to Los Cabo, Mexico for 22,752 Rapid Rewards points round-trip. Purchasing 2 tickets on this route would typically cost you over $900, which means you’re getting over 4 cents per point thanks to the Companion Pass!

Hot Tip: Need some travel inspiration? Check out these lesser known international destinations that Southwest flies to.

4. Fly Atlanta to Punta Cana Round-trip

Another fun international route on Southwest is between Atlanta and Punta Cana. You can fly round-trip for 25,056 Rapid Rewards points with the Companion Pass.

Not a bad deal when you consider the fact that it would cost over $850 for 2 tickets!

Hot Tip: Looking to upgrade your trip? Use The Platinum Card® from American Express to gain access to Priority Pass lounges.

5. Southwest Ticket Sales

use southwest points Aruba
Use your Rapid Rewards points and Companion Pass to have some fun in Aruba! Image Credit: Steve Photography via Shutterstock

Every so often, Southwest runs a “Low Fare” sale on certain routes. These sales include both domestic and international routes.

Recently, Southwest ran a sale that included one-way flights from Orlando to Aruba for only 8,784 Rapids Rewards points. For flights that would normally cost $384 for 2 people, this was a great deal with the Companion Pass.

You also could have booked a one-way flight from Atlanta to Cancun for 7,992 Rapid Rewards points. With the companion pass, you would get an amazing value of just over 4 cents per point!

There are also some great deals on domestic flights. We just saw one-way flights from Chicago to New Orleans for 9,757 Rapids Rewards points. That’s a redemption value of over 3 cents per point when using the Companion Pass.

These sale prices for award flights beat out most other competitors. Pair any sale ticket with the Companion Pass to maximize the value of your award!

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that these points prices may change depending on your dates of travel.

Be sure to check both the Rapid Rewards points cost and cash cost of flights when searching for tickets. This enables you to determine if it’s worth it to use the points, or if you should simply pay for the flight in cash.

Check out all routes on Southwest’s interactive route map.

Hot Tip: Get Ding! Ding is Southwest’s own alert system that will notify you when flights to your chosen destination from your selected airports go on sale. You can get it for your desktop or in the iTunes store for iOS.

If you’re going to be flying Southwest regularly on domestic or international routes, then the Companion Pass is a no-brainer!

It’s also relatively easy to get considering the many ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points, many of which can be earned without even flying!

You can pair the Companion Pass with any of the above award tickets on domestic and international flights to maximize the value you get out of your trip. Don’t hesitate, take advantage of this amazing deal!

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Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are RR or Rapid Rewards points?

Southwest’s points program is called Rapid Rewards. The points you earn, redeem, and transfer are Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

What credit cards does Southwest Airlines offer?

What are Southwest Rapid Rewards points worth?

The value of Southwest Rapid Rewards points depends on the ticket you are booking. You’ll usually always get somewhere between 1.2-2 cents per point. A “Wanna Get Away” ticket can give you a value up to 1.8 cents per point.

At 1.8 cents per point, that’s like getting a $100 ticket for the equivalent of about 5,555 Rapid Rewards points.

Can Southwest Rapid Rewards points be transferred?

Southwest Rapid Rewards points cannot be transferred to other airlines. You can redeem Southwest points, however, for hotel stays, car rentals, and more, though this is not generally a great use of points.

Are Southwest Rapid Rewards points transferrable to AirTran?

No. AirTran is now integrated into Southwest, so it is no longer considered a Southwest “partner.”

When do Southwest Rapid Rewards points post in your account?

Rapid Rewards points should post to your account within 3-7 days. Contact Southwest for support if you think they’re missing after this time period.

Are Southwest Rapid Rewards points refundable?

Yes. Southwest considers all flights paid for with Rapid Rewards points fully refundable when canceled prior to departure.

Be sure to select “request a refund of the refundable balance” when you go to cancel your flight reservation.

Can I get Southwest Rapid Rewards points for past flights?

Yes. Find the “Manage” section of your account and select “Request past points.” Enter the flight confirmation number and submit. Within 3-5 days you should see the past flight appear in your trip history the points credited appropriately.

When do Southwest Rapid Rewards points expire?

Southwest Rapid Rewards points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Your account will not expire for 24 months from the date of your most recent activity. Simply earn or redeem miles a minimum of every 24 months to keep your account from expiring.

Spencer Howard's image

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.

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